Hearing Loss in Children- Everything You Need to Know

    Hearing Loss in Children- Everything You Need to Know

    Safaa Asif

    Hearing is one of the senses of the human body. Hearing impairment or loss means there is a reduction of the ability to hear. This will further influence the individuals understanding of speech and other environmental sounds. With the help of this sense, we are able to complete the process of communication.


    Causes of hearing loss:


    • By birth : a genetic cause in this case
    • Acquired: this maybe due to some infections such as meningitis, ear infections, exposure to loud sounds, medication-these are some of the commonly reported causes of hearing loss.


    Types of hearing loss:


    • Hearing loss maybe due to damage to the cochlea(inner ear) or the nerve supply to the ear. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss
    • Conductive Hearing loss : due to a middle ear infection such as ear discharge- this will cause fluid collection in the middle ear and reduce the amount of sound being transmitted.
    • Mixed hearing loss : it’s a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss


    Each of the types of hearing loss will influence the development of speech and language skills of the child.


    Who to contact for the hearing difficulties?

    The Audiologist is the professional who does the haring tests and fits with required hearing aid, working along with ENT doctors and pediatricians. The speech therapist is qualified for carrying out the training for speech and language post fitting the hearing aids.


    How to identify?

    The newborn hearing screening test is being implemented in hospitals across the world- based on birth history, usually the pediatrician identifies and refers the infants for this test. Tests are done on high risk infants at regular intervals to identify hearing loss.

    • Parents must note their infants responses to sounds- whether blink or startled to loud sounds, smiling when you speak to them, the crying sounds of the infant, trying to make playful sounds(observed from 5-6 months of age)
    • The earlier the hearing loss is identified, the earlier the treatment can be started – whether in the form of medication(for middle ear problems) or hearing aid / cochlear implant recommendation (for inner ear problems).


    Treatment options:

    When the treatment is provided early, there is always a better chance for the language development of the child. Aural rehabilitation is recommended for the children who are fitted with the hearing aids or cochlear implants, for a systematic therapy to promote the communication ability of the child.


    Did you find this information useful? If you have any questions please feel free to write to me! 

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